Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 13, 2004

Carver commissioner candidates trade mild words at forum

By Heidi Stutelberg

Four candidates for the commissioner seat that represents voters on the western edge of Carver County spoke on several issues Thursday in Waconia.

The candidates, including incumbent Paul Neumann of Waconia, Tim Lynch of Mayer, Scott Hoese of Mayer and Dan Steinhagen of Waconia, will appear on Tuesday’s primary ballot Sept. 14.

The primary will narrow the race from four to two for District 4, which represents Hollywood Township, the townships of Waconia and Watertown, the City of Watertown, and precincts in the City of Waconia.

Prior to the forum, each candidate was given a few questions to prepare responses to with a two-minute time limit.

Citizens in attendance also submitted several questions. Some topics discussed were: the contributions they could make as a county commissioner, their vision for the next five and 10 years, what they believed were the county’s needs, the role of economic and industrial development for Waconia and the support of county employees.

Neumann felt that the development of County Road 10 south to the freeway would be a “life line for the City of Waconia,” and would relieve stress on Highway 5.

Neumann mentioned the last auditor’s report ranked Carver County number one highest per capita in property taxes.

“If you raise the taxes, they won’t come to live here. If we don’t get competitive, we won’t get the growth,” Neumann said.

He also wants people to come to the board meetings so everyone can hear what that person has to say.

Neumann supports the existence of public libraries and believes the board has to have a common vision.

Some concerns of Steinhagen were the current consideration of consolidating departments from 26 to 12 or fewer departments.

Steinhagen noted that Scott County consolidated its county departments, causing county veterans to go to the welfare department, which he does not want to happen for the veterans in Carver County.

He also supported developing relationships with state and federal funding programs for highway funding, as well as supporting education for minorities with English as a second language.

Lynch would like to see a reduction in regulations for homeowners, such as excessive regulations that pertain to such things as building decks onto houses.

“Regulations are out of hand,” he said. As a county commissioner, he would work with city leaders and ask which they want built, Highway 5 or County Road 10, Lynch said.

Lynch thinks Carver County has the best highway department in the five county area, and was in favor of Highway 312 development, since 5 is the “bread and butter” of Waconia.

Lynch also felt the length of service may not be the best indicator for service.

The preservation of green spaces, the support for farm land trusts control of taxes and spending were Hoese’s concerns.

He wants to find a way to control development, supporting one home per 40 acres.

Hoese also favors pay raises when needed for county employees, as well as fairness with tax breaks for economic and industrial development.

He felt in a year or two, the consolidation of county departments will work smoothly.

Hoese thought working on Highway 7, county roads 284, 25 and improving County Road 10 for truckers would reduce congestion on Highway 5.

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